Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) commanders in the occupied West Bank have been given the green light to use combat drones to carry out targeted killings of Palestinian gunmen by Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, Israeli media reported on September 28.
The commanders will now be allowed to use drones not only for surveillance and intelligence gathering, but also to carry out strikes on gunmen who pose imminent threats to Israeli troops in the West Bank.
The decision came in response to a surge in shooting attacks targeting Israeli troops and settlers in the West Bank. For the last few months, the IDF has been trying to deter and intimidate Palestinians in the region by intensifying its security operations.
Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi reportedly green lighted the use of combat drones against Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank during a meeting with Central Command chief Maj.-Gen. Yehuda Fuchs and West Bank Division Commander Brig.-Gen. Avi Blot. The meeting was held following an IDF raid in the city of Jenin that claimed the lives of four gunmen.
In September, The Jerusalem Post revealed that IDF commanders in the West Bank were trained on the use of combat drones during security operations.
Commander of the Judea and Samaria Division Brig.-Gen. Yaniv Alaluf and commander of the Menashe Brigade Col. Arik Moyal were trained to operate an air force assault command center that monitors and controls armed drones, namely the Elbit Hermes 450.
Kohavi gave the green light to use combat drones in an attempt to reduce the escalation of violence in the West Bank. However, this new policy will likely backfire and lead to more escalation and violence in the occupied Palestinian region as it allows the IDF to engage suspected gunmen with more freedom.